Beth Comstock - Get Weird
Beth Comstock - Get Weird

Get Weird

It’s getting weirder out there, and harder and harder to keep up. In every industry, the old is going away faster than the new can replace it. That leaves us in what I call the in-between. It’s a profoundly uncertain – even weird — place to live and do business.

One of the best ways to survive and even thrive in this world is to imagine forward future paths, no matter how weird some of them may seem. By getting weird, you can seek out early seeds of change, in your own way. You can get ready for change by engaging with change, rather than letting it ambush you.

To locate useful sources of weird, I head to the margins of what the media has to offer. I find useful inspiration from sci-fi writers and emerging artists. I try not to worry about finding something objectively weird. If it seems odd to me, then I go ahead and take it as sign it’s got something to teach me.

Everybody has their own idea of weird and that’s good. What weird will you discover next?

Challenge One: Find Your Own Weird

Challenge yourself to get weird: Give yourself one thing this week to explore what seems weird to you. It can be a museum, a book, a movie, a show, an app, or even an idea. Spend time with it and try to tap into your imagination. Try to ask what if, not what if this is wrong, silly, stupid, etc. If your weird item is something old, ask yourself what contrasts it can show off with the present. If your weird item is something new, try to imagine it forward into the future. How would the world look if your weird became the new normal?

Challenge Two: Show Your Weird

If we work together, you’ll often hear me say: “Tell me the weirdest ideas you had for this project.” This is a standard practice of mine: ask people what they didn’t show you, especially if the ideas were strange and made them uncomfortable. Often there’s a seed of a good idea there, sometimes even the best idea in the bunch.

So take the ideas you’re holding back, and try sharing one with a colleague. It doesn’t have to be in a formal setting like a meeting. It can be an email or a conversation. How did they respond?

You can also challenge yourself (and your team) to come up with one weird idea as part of your project development. You can frame it as something that’s intentionally out there—just an idea starter. Now what are you going to do with it? How could you make it useful?

 

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